Archive for July, 2014

How to Grill Artichokes

Artichokes are usually served steamed, but these nutritional powerhouse vegetables are more versatile than they may seem. If you’re looking for a new twist on artichoke preparation, grilling produces a satisfying smoked flavor, especially when paired with a lemon garnish.

How to Grill Artichokes: Choosing the Best Artichoke Globes

The best choices for grilling are the first baby artichokes of the season, picked while still small and tender. Globes should feel heavy, with no visible bruising or marks. Leaves should be dark green and tightly closed. Even if there are no baby artichokes to be found, select the smaller globes as they will be more tender and flavorful than larger ones.

How to Grill Artichokes: Preparation for Grillinggrilled artichokes

Artichokes require quite a bit of preparation before they’re ready to hit the grill. Have a lemon on hand to squeeze lemon juice over exposed inside areas of the artichoke as you work. This will keep them from turning brown.

  1. Peel any extra leaves from the stem. Snip the spiny tips off all remaining leaves.
  2. Trim about 1 inch off the tip of the artichoke. Trim the tough, fibrous end off the stem as well. Remove the outer layer from the remaining stem with a vegetable peeler.
  3. Slice the artichokes into halves, exposing the center.
  4. Use a spoon to remove the furry choke in the center of the globe, dropping each half into lemon water when it is finished. You can slice into quarters for faster cooking time if you prefer.
  5. Boil or steam the artichokes until you can pierce the stem with a knife. The majority of the cooking is done at this time, so make sure the artichokes have reached the desired tenderness before transferring to the grill.

How to Grill Artichokes: Ready for the Grill

With artichokes steamed or boiled to make them tender, you can now place them on the grill to add a delicious smoked flavor.

  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. Brush artichokes with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place artichokes onto the grill center side down.
  4. Grill for 8-10 minutes over medium heat, or until slightly charred.

Your artichokes should be tender, with nice grill marks. To serve, squeeze lemon juice over the artichokes and offer hollandaise, vinaigrette, or lemon herb sauces for dipping. You can enjoy them either warm or chilled. If you plan to serve them chilled, you can grill the artichokes up to 24 hours in advance and store them in the refrigerator.

Grilled Chicken Marinade

Want juicy flavorful chicken on the grill? The secret is a well-crafted marinade. Marinating before cooking breaks down the connective tissue and muscle fibers, making the meat more tender. It also infuses flavor into the chicken and helps retain moisture for a juicier, more flavorful result. It’s important that meat be in direct contact with the marinade for the best result, so make sure each piece of chicken is completely covered. Alternately, you can turn the meat halfway through to make sure all sides come into contact with the liquid.

Grilled Chicken Marinade: Basics of a Perfect Marinade

The tenderizing effect of marinade is a result of the acid in one or more of the ingredients. Fruit juice and vinegar are two common ways to achieve the desired acidity. Many recipes also include oil. Next, you can add any variety of seasonings to create a delicious and distinctive flavor. Place chicken in a zip top bag, squeeze out the air, and seal shut. Chicken should be marinated in the refrigerator 1-2 hours in order to soak up the flavor. You can leave it in the marinade longer, but not more than 24 hours. Marinating for too long will cause meat to turn mushy as a result of the acidic enzymes breaking down the tissue.

Grilled Chicken Marinade: Balsamic Chicken Marinade

This recipe uses lemon juice and red wine vinegar for the tenderizing effect and creates a savory garlic flavor. You can brush any leftover marinade directly onto the chicken just as it goes onto the grill for additional flavor.

  • 1 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. oregano
  • 2 Tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Place chicken on the grill over high heat. Chicken breasts should be grilled for 10-12 minutes. Legs and thighs should cook for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Grilled Chicken Marinade: Teriyaki Chicken Marinade

chicken marinade

This teriyaki marinade provides a tangy, Asian flavor to your chicken. Brush the chicken with teriyaki sauce or leftover marinade before placing it on the grill to add an extra layer of flavor. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving.

  • 1/3 c. soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tsp. ginger root, grated
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 thinly sliced green onions

Combine all ingredients except the green onions in a medium saucepan. Cook on low heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. When marinade has cooled, stir in green onions.

Next time you have a taste for chicken on the grill, try one of these delicious marinades or whip up one of your own and see where your creativity can take you! There’s no end to the flavor combinations and variety you can create by following these basics for a delicious grilled chicken marinade.